Shortly after the close of this year’s International Women’s Day, China’s Twitter-like service Sina Weibo shut down Feminist Voices. With 180,000 followers, the group’s social media account was one of the most important advocacy channels for spreading information about women’s issues in China, but in an instant, it was gone. A few hours later, the private messaging app WeChat also shuttered an account for the group. The official reasons for the closures were vague, simply that the accounts had posted content that violated regulations, but the subtext was clear: the country’s highly-monitored media was trying to silence women’s advocates.

It wasn’t the first time Feminist Voices had been censored. Last year, Weibo issued the group a one-month suspension for posting “inappropriate content”—a move that now appears to have been a warning shot. However, says Leta Hong Fincher, author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China, “this time the removal is more sinister as there is no indication that the account will be restored.” Days after it went dark, images appeared online of a group of masked women holding a symbolic funeral for the death of Feminist Voices. Yet the group’s founder Lu Pin (now based in the US) wrote on Twitter that she viewed the ritual not as a funeral, but as a “fantastic carnival,” signifying a rebirth, and she pledged to “reclaim the account by every legal avenue.”

Source/ rest: wired.com